Sarll’s men look bright beneath the stormy heavens as Stevenage hold Norwich

Tom Conlon. Picture: Danny Loo

Tom Conlon. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Under dark heavens and bucketfuls of rain there was plenty for Darren Sarll to feel happy about as his Stevenage side held Norwich City to a draw on Tuesday evening.

It was a miserable evening as the rain swept in and soaked cold faces in the crowd, but on the pitch there were rays of light emanating from much of what Sarll’s Boro side did.

It wasn’t a perfect performance – they conceded twice while Norwich had a number of other good chances – but it was encouraging, especially once Dale Gorman and Tom Conlon entered the fray at half-time.

The dynamic duo could well hold the key for Stevenage this coming season in the middle of the pitch. James Ferry, taller and leaner than one had imagined, looked comfortable in the first half alongside a trialist, but there is something about this young – and importantly, balanced – pair that offers much hope for things to come.

Conlon, of course, missed the majority of last term due to injury, but he does look a Rolls Royce of a player at this level. He’s slick, calm and is a fine passer of the ball, while Gorman is much more than a terrier and can also spray the ball about.

And that’s the thing – these youngsters are good players, like Mark McKee, and they’ll only get better.

Norwich led 2-0 thanks to a penalty from Nelson Oliviera, following a foul on Jamal Lewis, and an Alex Pritchard goal which followed some poor marking at a corner.

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Yet they kept putting themselves under pressure by playing out from the back on a wet surface with Boro pushing players high up the pitch, and one such build up broke down and City were punished as Alex Samuel poked home. Then a handball in the box allowed Gorman to fire past Paul Jones from the spot to make it a draw.

There is more to do before the season kicks off on August 5 and in both the previous two years Boro have failed to win in their first three league matches of the campaign. If they build on this performance then competitive wins shouldn’t take too long to come.

Stevenage: First half: Fryer, Henry, Wilkinson, Franks, Martin, Beautyman, Ferry, trialist, McKee, Turgott, Samuel. Second half: Fryer (Day 60), trialist, Wilmot, Johnson, Slater, Conlon, Gorman, Pett, Gray, Newton, Liburd.

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